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OKC's First Full Service Community School to Curb Dropout Rate

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Barbara Laudermilk is the director of the Metro Career Academy, which is a Full Service Community School and is part of Metro Tech. She said right now, the high school has a full service clinic inside of it. Barbara Laudermilk is the director of the Metro Career Academy, which is a Full Service Community School and is part of Metro Tech. She said right now, the high school has a full service clinic inside of it.
Metro Career Academy's new $14 million building will house more community partners to help become a one stop shop for students to remove any barriers or excuses from getting their high school diploma. Metro Career Academy's new $14 million building will house more community partners to help become a one stop shop for students to remove any barriers or excuses from getting their high school diploma.
Dylan Davis used to be a C and D student and said he hated going to school. However, since attending Metro Career Academy, Davis said that has all changed. Dylan Davis used to be a C and D student and said he hated going to school. However, since attending Metro Career Academy, Davis said that has all changed.

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City taxpayers are spending $14 million on a new building for a program that is already saving high school dropouts. The goal of a Full Service Community School is to take away any and all obstacles that are preventing students from completing their education.

Barbara Laudermilk is the director of the Metro Career Academy, which is part of Metro Tech. She also serves as the community school's principal.

"This is about partners coming together with a public school," said Laudermilk.

Right now, the high school has a full service clinic inside of it.

The new building being constructed near Metro Tech's Springlake campus is expected to be completed later this year. The expansion will house many more community partners.

"It's a one stop shop. It will have services for dental, eye, medical, the National Guard, DHS, Boyscouts, Girlscouts, and counseling in the same building as our high school. This removes barriers. If we strengthen Oklahoma City families, we're going to strengthen the students in Oklahoma City," she added.

The model has been the proven difference maker in other urban areas like Atlanta, Ga. Dylan Davis, 16, is on his way to being a success story.

"I get up every morning and I want to go to school. Last April, I was a freshman and I'm almost a senior this year. I was a C, D student. I haven't made a C since I got here," said Davis.

Davis struggled in the traditional high school environment. He said he didn't get the help he needed and had a hard time dealing with the cliques of a large high school.

Laudermilk said right now Oklahoma City Public Schools' typical class size in high school has 30 to 40 students.

"I never really had my time to shine there I guess," said Davis, who believes he would be a dropout if the community school were not an option.

The same goes for graduate Brittany Little.

"I was very rebellious. I didn't like no one telling me what to do. I had a hard heart," said Little.

She was a dropout, but had perfect attendance this year and now has dreams of becoming a CEO or owning her own business.

The program has given kids like teen parents, homeless teens, and victims of bullying a second chance. The new facility will allow the program that has a waiting list to help more students. Laudermilk said they will start out with about 200, but will have room to accept up to 450 kids in need.

Every student and their families are interviewed to make sure the program is a right fit. Students that get into the school have either been identified as dropouts, kids at risk of dropping out, or students that need an alternative school day. The alternative school day allows students to complete some of their coursework online.

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